The Big Question
Is building and nurturing an email list really necessary for ALL businesses today? In this article, I will share with you my take based on my personal experience and marketing knowledge.
According to every digital marketing guru out there, building and nurturing an email list of prospects is crucial and absolutely necessary for every single business. As you may know, the purpose of an email list is to communicate with your potential customers; follow-up, provide value, build relationships, etc. The bottom line is that email follow-up allows you to close more sales and get a higher ROI, that’s a fact.
But is email the most efficient and effective follow-up method today? Is it absolutely necessary for ALL businesses and business models? Can a modern business thrive without email marketing?
If you’re an online business owner, the simple answer is YES, you could definitely benefit from building and strategically nurturing an email list because online businesses typically deal with large audiences and email marketing allows you to communicate with your prospects via mass broadcasts/ newsletters as well as automatic sequence follow-ups and send people straight to the transaction place aka your website.
However, if you’re an offline “mom and pop shop” and/ or an offline business that doesn’t deal with a large quantity of prospects and customers then NO, it’s really not necessary for you to build an email list if you don’t have one yet and I’ll explain why as well as give you a great alternative to email marketing that works extremely well below.
Thanks to Google’s massive database, you can follow up and communicate with your prospects, leads, and customers very efficiently and effectively via Google Ads remarketing campaigns without having to send a single email to them. In fact, you can get your message read/ heard by a much larger percentage of people than you would with email follow-up.
Generally, anything over 20% is considered a good email open rate (most businesses get open rates as low as in the single digit percentile).
On the other hand, using Google’s database, you can strategically show relevant non-skippable in-stream video ads to the exact same people that you would’ve had on your email list but instead of getting a 20% (or lower) open rate, you would get almost a 100% view rate (excluding people that mute their device or don’t pay attention to the ad).
Now, it’s important to note that non-skippable in-stream video ads are technically meant for brand awareness advertising and they’re only 15 seconds long, however, if you do it right, you can use non-skippable video ads for following-up with and nurturing your prospect, too!
I’m not going to explain the remarketing strategy in this article but in short, all you have to do is create a Sequence Campaign in your Google Ads account and show a number of video ads to your prospects in a very specific order, influencing them to take a specific action (such as visit your website, reach out to you, visit your location, etc.).
Another great option is skippable in-stream video ads (focused on providing valuable content before calling to action). This type of ad can be optimized to drive a very specific conversion action. The best part is that Google’s machine learning smart system will do whatever it takes to get you as many specific conversions as possible. For example, you can setup your conversion to be “phone calls from website” and Google’s machine learning system will automatically learn and optimize to put your video ads in front of people that are more likely to convert and when they’re most likely to convert.
Strategically combine non-skippable AND skippable in-stream video ads in a Sequence Campaign and you’ll hit the jackpot.
Video remarketing allows you to reach your leads very efficiently and effectively without having to build and manage an email list and dealing with CRM software and you can reach people that visited your website but haven’t subscribed to your list (which gives you a larger audience to communicate with than just people that subscribed to your list).
Now, you could argue that having an email list is important because it’s “an asset that you’re in total control of” that you can move from autoresponder to autoresponder anytime you want where as, with Google’s data, you can’t move it anywhere off of Google.
You could also add “if Google disappears, all your data is gone” or “if Google bans you for any reason, you won’t be able to advertise on their platform anymore and all the data you collected will go to waste”.
Those are valid points- there’s obviously some downsides to relying on a 3rd party (such as Google) for data. However, my counter argument would be the following:
First of all, does it actually matter if you can move your data from one software to another?
Moving your leads from autoresponder to autoresponder doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the same high open rates you got before. In fact, in most cases, your open rate will drop after the first few newsletters/ broadcasts you send using the new autoresponder.
Additionally, here’s some downsides to email marketing:
1. Your domain could get blacklisted by email providers (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) as I could get banned from Google.
2. Autoresponders are getting more and more strict. If you don’t keep up with their terms, you’ll either get banned or put on a lower quality server and most of your emails will end up in the spam folder.
3. It’s getting harder to effectively communicate with leads via email because email filters send most marketing emails to the promotional folder and spam folder (yes, even if you use plain text and communicate in a “non salesy” fashion).
Next, should you worry about getting banned from Google?
I say no because all you have to do is carefully read Google’s terms and stay compliant with their policies (it’s easier than it sounds). Other than that, chances of getting banned by Google are very slim.
Last but not least, is Google gonna disappear anytime soon?
I don’t think Google is going anywhere anytime soon. Google is constantly keeping up with new trends, evolving technologically, staying profitable, and growing as a company (which is a formula for long-term success).
Whether you like it or not, technology is evolving at an ever quick pace and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon or ever. I strongly believe that, in the not so far future, technology will evolve to the point that we won’t even need the data that we currently rely on to reach our prospects, leads, and customers.
The truth is, email marketing is dying and sooner or later, it’ll be completely dead and irrelevant (even for online businesses). Email communication in general is simply getting old, especially for millennials and generation Z. The future is anything but email.
I highly encourage all businesses, regardless if you’re doing email marketing or not, to take full advantage of platforms such as Google Ads and use their data for cold advertising as well as follow-up (via remarketing) because it’s very efficient and effective.
And if you still believe that you need to build and nurture an email list, go for it but also implement the remarketing strategy I mentioned in this article because strategic remarketing is definitely a good idea whether you’re doing email marketing or not.
Article by Vlad Strizheus, owner of 605 Marketing LLC.